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Gates Expresses Surprise Over IE8 Secrecy 381

Posted by Zonk
from the a-little-clarity-is-required dept.
eldavojohn writes "Shortly following the frustrations of IE7, Gates claims that he is unaware that IE8 Secrecy has been alienating developers. Ten influential bloggers met with Bill on Tuesday and asked Gates questions about why they are no longer receiving information on IE. From Molly Holzschlag's blog: 'Something seems to have changed, where there is no messaging now for the last six months to a year going out on the IE team. They seem to have lost the transparency that they had. This conversation [between Web developers and the IE team] seems to have been pretty much shut down, and I'm very concerned as to why that is.' To which Bill replied: 'I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE.'"
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Gates Expresses Surprise Over IE8 Secrecy

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  • In a perfect world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:03PM (#21616595) Homepage

    They'd be no secret about what I'd be doing if I was running the Internet Explorer 8 team. Here's a few things I'd do:

    1. Turn everything on this page [wikipedia.org] that is red to green for the Trident engine.
    2. Fix everything on this [positioniseverything.net] page.
    3. Correctly support the mime-type for XHTML and display an error if *anything* on that page is incorrectly formed. The last part of this sentence is absolutely crucial. We need to start breaking pages that are not correct, XHTML is a good chance to push this.
    4. Get rid of the Trusted Site, Internet, Untrusted security model and just have Untrusted.
    5. Get rid of ActiveX. Support Internet Explorer 6 for ActiveX for another five years to allow people to transition to other platforms.

    For bonus points, do all this faster and with less memory than Internet Explorer 7 takes.

    This is a fairly modest list but if they fixed all of that, Internet Explorer would be a joy to develop against. Hell, I might even consider replacing Firefox as my default browser on Windows. However, as much as we can collectively dream, you know they'll rejig the interface slightly, crank up the version number by one and call it a day.

    Microsoft is a text-book example of a market failure. Nearly every other browser has Internet Explorer boxed off in terms of functionality, security and speed. The only reason it is the world's number one browser is because it comes pre-installed with WIndows.

    As a program Internet Explorer is simply trash. I simply hate it. Actually I fucking despise it. It is a big ball of shit [codinghorror.com]. It's the ugly building in the middle of a city that everyone wants torn down but it just sits there damaging the community's spirit.

    I once joked with a colleague that Internet Explorer has probably wiped billions off pounds off the world economy. I laughed, paused for a moment, and realised it's probably completely true. What could the world have done with all those countless hours hacking their CSS to support the trash that is Internet Explorer?

    Doesn't it make you depressed?

    Simon

    • by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:14PM (#21616763) Journal
      If Vista has taught us anything, it's that Microsoft is laser-focused on superficial and eye-candy improvements, while caring very little about improving (or even fixing) the underlying technologies. From my (thankfully VERY brief) experience with Vista, it looks like the only thing they even remotely attempted to fix or improve was security, and that... well, heh, it reminded me of a maxim I once heard: "Those who do not understand Unix are doomed to reinvent it--badly."

      My prediction is that IE 8 will have exactly the same rendering capabilities, but it will have some sort of annoying new UI, plus maybe a few extremely annoying security features that everyone will turn off immediately.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by coryking (104614) *
      • Dont forget SVG support too.
      • A good debugger would be nice.
      • Meet the standards and then innovate on top of them. Remember back in the day when every browser was adding extra tags to try to outdo the other guy? I really think we need that again. Semantic web is a pipe dream, HTML sucks, CSS is largely ivory tower bullshit and the W3C is ineffective at giving developers a good language. A classic Firefox vs IE battle of layout tags is exactly what we need to stir up the pot. Just make sure you follow the
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        I hope you were joking about "Meet the standards and innovate on top of them". The browser war was terrible for developers. You obviously don't remember trying to program Javascript during the Netscape 4 days. Anybody who knows anything about web development knows that you don't do layout with "tags" you do layout with CSS. It's different than doing layout with HTML Tables and Tags, but it makes your website much more flexible. CSS3 is coming, and it will provide us with even more features.
        • by coryking (104614) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:47PM (#21617217) Homepage Journal
          I know that you do layout in CSS. The problem is CSS is an inadequate way to express layout. Where is my "make a three column grid that extends the height of the page" in CSS?

          My point was really, there needs to be some innovation. HTML & CSS have grown stagnant and are not keeping up with what modern web applications are asking it to do. W3C is an ineffective standards body and is incapable of delivering something to meet these new demands. The only way I can see innovation now is if browser makers roll their own. Hell, even firefox has those -x-rounded-corner things. Gee. Maybe people want rounded corners huh? Why isn't this getting added to a formal standard?

          The important thing though is to make sure you meet all the baseline standards first before adding cool crap on top. IE doesn't meet the baseline yet, so they aren't in a place to do cool new stuff.

          At least, this is my opinion.

          • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:00PM (#21617427) Homepage
            I've never understood why people would want a 3 column layout on the web. The web isn't a newspaper. 3 Column layout doesn't work well. I seriously think someone went through the trouble of figuring out what CSS couldn't do (however useless or obscure) and started it as a meme or how weak CSS was. Firefox has x-rounded-corners because it's part of CSS3, and it's not officially supported yet, so they don't want everyone using the actual css rounded corners thinking that it's fully supported. For more information on rounded corners in CSS follow the link [w3.org].
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by coryking (104614) *
              That is why standards dudes all suck. The market wants 3 column layouts. The market, at large can give a rats ass about theoretical semantic web bullshit. HTML is presentational. We want presentational layout that looks like newspapers. You can scream about semantics till your face turns red, but it doesn't matter. Look how the internet is being used, not how you think it should be used.

              How about a 2 column layout with a fixed column and a background that extends the page? Is that useless or obscure?
            • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmaiCOLAl.com minus caffeine> on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:02PM (#21618309) Journal

              I've never understood why people would want a 3 column layout on the web.


              Not only is this completely missing the point (people want 3 column layout, and they HAVE to implement them anyway with tedious gesticulations), but you're posting on a site with a 3 column layout, for fuck's sake!

              Navigation on the right, content and comments in the middle, links and tools on the right. No, that's not a newspaper layout (which have more than 3 columns, in case you've never opened one!), and it makes at least some fucking sense.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Sleepy (4551)
                >Navigation on the right, content and comments in the middle, links and tools on the right. No, that's not a newspaper layout (which have more than 3 columns, in case you've never opened one!), and it makes at least some fucking sense.

                You are assuming that the GP and everyone else doesn't take advantage of Preferences to get rid of that useless right column, which I did years ago and don't remember what the settings were. Perhaps the GP also surfs /. as '2 columns'.

                (Personally, I think 3 columns for a SI
    • by Yvan256 (722131)
      Tell me about it. I only have a Mac mini, so I just bought a Windows XP Home SP 2 Full Version (with COA) on eBay just so I could test websites with IE6 and IE7.

      WinXP = about 100$
      VMWare Fusion = about 80$
      2GB of RAM for the Mac mini = about 200$

      With shipping, taxes and everything, this means I had to pay around 300$ just so I can test and make custom CSS for a browser that still can't correctly render a website according to CSS specs.
      • Ahem [microsoft.com].

        I'd say that $100 was wasted, VMWare has the capability to convert VirtualPC images. (dunno whether it might want to reactivate because of the changed virtual machine hardware though)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919)
      The problem is that Trident is also used as an all purpose rendering engine. Just about everything you can think of that renders "something", aside from big hot shots companies, will use Trident to render their content...so break Trident, you break everything. Thats part of why upgrades to it are so incremental and never revolutionary.

      Now, why don't they change the engine in IE while keeping both versions for backward compatibility? Thats the more interesting question.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227)
        >>Now, why don't they change the engine in IE while keeping both versions for backward compatibility? Thats the more interesting question.

        The same reason why they didn't break all backward compatibility for Vista and use a sandboxed WinXP emulator for older applications.

        MSFT managers won't think out side the box.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Get rid of the Trusted Site, Internet, Untrusted security model and just have Untrusted.

      So even your company intranet should be untrusted (Restricted Sites), and not allowed to use ANY plugins or Javascript? Ya, great plan. Lets not forget how useless many other sites would be.

      I once joked with a colleague that Internet Explorer has probably wiped billions off pounds off the world economy. I laughed, paused for a moment, and realised it's probably completely true. What could the world have done with all
      • by coolGuyZak (844482) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:48PM (#21617233)

        If anything, the bugs in IE contribute to the economy, as more money is required to move through the system to account for them.

        While superficially correct, this is a case of the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org]. The money spent working around IE bugs could be spent better elsewhere (for instance, QA, usability, etc.).

      • by Ckwop (707653) *

        So even your company intranet should be untrusted (Restricted Sites), and not allowed to use ANY plugins or Javascript? Ya, great plan. Lets not forget how useless many other sites would be.

        That's a strawman. A security model comparable to Firefox or Opera is what I was referring to. In a large corporation I'd expect the security threat would be more hostile than the open Internet. The vast majority of attacks on the Internet are indiscriminate and are just focused on finding anybody to to attack. In th

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:33PM (#21617011)

      They'd be no secret about what I'd be doing if I was running the Internet Explorer 8 team. Here's a few things I'd do:

      6. Look for a new job because they fired me.

      MS doesn't want those fixed. Seriously, they make money by ensuring that other browsers can't compete because the Web is broken to conform to IE's modifications of the standards. In this way they lock people into their platform. If IE was standard compliant, then soon Web apps would be standard compliant, and then why the hell would big companies stick with IE and an expensive OS, when they can just run Linux for free?

      Microsoft is a text-book example of a market failure. Nearly every other browser has Internet Explorer boxed off in terms of functionality, security and speed. The only reason it is the world's number one browser is because it comes pre-installed with WIndows.

      IE will never have the same functionality, at least in terms of standards compliance, as other browsers as long as MS is allowed to bundle it without also bundling competitors. The Web will remain broken so long as MS is allowed to abuse their monopoly and numerous other markets will be broken as well, with innovation intentionally slowed for their profit. It is long past time the government enforced the fucking laws against MS, despite all the campaign contributions they made to both parties.

      • by cmburns69 (169686)
        Never attribute to malice what can be accounted for by incompetence.

        • by Bert64 (520050)
          Except that microsoft have a history of malice, and are far too successful (through many malicious acts) to be called incompetent.
    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      I disagree with your trying to supress the trust zone model. It can be very useful, but I very much want to combine it with a fine-grained NoScript capability. I use 3 zones on my work notebook, which runs IE 7 in enhanced security configuration (scripting enabled only in the trusted zone) as the default browser:

      Trusted zone - Windows Update, various MS IT sites that I use for Software downloads, my Bank, etc

      Intranet zone - internal websites, limited scripting, but downloading is supported

      Internet zon

  • I expect a lot of scrutiny from the top, here. Microsoft, for all it's warts, has always been up front in publishing to their life's blood, the developers developers (cue Monkey Dance references then ignore). The response to the message from the top, however was pathetic.

    You can forgive anything from a manager except an inability to communicate. Hachamovitch broke rule #1, expect to see him kicked as soon as IE8 is released. Too late perhaps, but then maybe the top dogs were a little too hands-off?

    A

  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by darkhitman (939662) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:06PM (#21616641)

    To which Bill replied: 'I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE.'"
    Of course there's no deep secret about it. "We're doing nothing" is hardly a secret, after all.
  • Truncated (Score:3, Funny)

    by nog_lorp (896553) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:07PM (#21616655)
    That quote was incomplete, it's really: "I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE. *cackle*"
  • Maybe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510)
    The IE team is tired of all the adolescent crap that gets posted in their blog. I know I would.
    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by coryking (104614) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:22PM (#21616865) Homepage Journal
      In this case, that "adolescent crap" is well deserved and hardly adolescent. It is the outpour of pent up rage from professional web developers everywhere.

      Until you've done serious web development, you have no idea how frustrating it is to target IE. Especially when you have to explain to your client why it took a day longer than you estimated because of IE.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dedazo (737510)
        No, it's not well deserved. Clearly you didn't read through those comments. And the people working on IE7/8 are not the same as the ones that shipped IE5/6, and while the company might deserve the criticism, the individual developers and managers don't.

        I bet it's really hard to manage a project when you post an incidental blog entry about an icon change and you get 300 puerile comments about how you should be working on OMG CSS OMG STANDARDS when the roadmap for the product and what it would support based

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by coryking (104614) *
          I could be wrong, so hear me out:

          I read almost all the comments from both blog entries. Aside from a few slashdotty tin-foil-hat EVIL M$ posts, I felt most were fairly well thought out. I don't think anybody was dissing the developers or managers, but more of "hey guys! we are all feeling neglected here" kind of deal.

          How about this. Are the comments you read on those two posts of the same nature as, say, those from the infamous "Digg Rebellion"?
      • by plague3106 (71849)
        In this case, that "adolescent crap" is well deserved and hardly adolescent. It is the outpour of pent up rage from professional web developers everywhere.

        Huh, and here I thought "outpouring pent up rage" would be considered very unprofessional.

        Especially when you have to explain to your client why it took a day longer than you estimated because of IE.

        If you're targeting IE (and there's no reason not to), I'd expect you'd learn how to do things the IE way, and then tweak to work in IE and FF. IE is the lar
        • by coryking (104614) *
          I'm only a pseudo professional. I dont do enough development to know all the ins and outs of IE*. Personally I have high props to professional web developers, but I also think they must all be somewhat insane. Web development is probably the hardest, most frustrating career path a tech-dude can take right now.
        • If you're targeting IE (and there's no reason not to), I'd expect you'd learn how to do things the IE way, and then tweak to work in IE and FF.

          There is good reason not to code first for IE. For one thing, IE is forgiving of some code problems that will cause standards-compliant browsers to render incorrectly. If you check it first in IE, you won't know why it doesn't work in Firefox and Opera. If you check it in Firefox first, it will probably work in IE.

          In other cases, where IE doesn't render correct c

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by encoderer (1060616)
        No, it's the rants of petulant children.

        If you've done *serious* web development then you consider yourself a *professional*. And as a professional, you no longer have the luxury afforded to the "my CSS is art" drama-queens.

        As a professional, you should be more concerned with the viability of your design to meet your clients goals: most often to sell something, support something already sold, or strengthen the brand they use to sell things. Which means you should be focusing on nothing more than making your
        • by coryking (104614) *
          You are 100% right. That is why I'm not a professional web developer and never want to be. The little web development I do is frustrating enough. Web development is hard, long, frustrating work. All you pro web dudes have my sincere kudos. Seriously.
  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:11PM (#21616707)
    Sounds like Microsoft has gotten far too enormous to be manageable by most people if Bill Gates has no clue what's going on any more. Vista barely got out the door, it's a lame duck OS, and now at least one of the major software development teams has gone into seclusion, and no one important noticed. Wouldn't be surprised if more problematic tripwires and land mines were hiding under rocks at Redmond. MS needs new management, it's silly that the founders of a tiny itsy-bitsy Microsoft are still in control of one of the largest, sprawling corporations in the world.
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      it's silly that the founders of a tiny itsy-bitsy Microsoft are still in control of one of the largest, sprawling corporations in the world.

      Part of that is because those guys MADE IT into one of the largest, sprawling corporations in the world. We laugh and joke about the "failure" that Vista is and such, and yeah, I hate it, and most of their software sucks, but they know how to work the market.

      It's hard to argue about the business since of a company that is still bringing in profits on the order of billions of dollars per year.

      And to some degree, it's understandable why they are how they are. I don't mean the issue of software quality, I m

      • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:27PM (#21616939)
        "Part of that is because those guys MADE IT into one of the largest, sprawling corporations in the world."

        Different managers are required for different stages of a corporation's existence. Sure, they made the corporation what it is today, but they also mismanaged it into a crippled, bloated, low-growth, living entirely off of prior achievements, slug. It's an axiom that after a certain point, the best thing the founders of a corporation can do for their creation is leave, and I don't think Microsoft has proven to be an exception. Microsoft should have re-invented itself at some point during the 95/NT4 era, and instead calcified into the Microsoft of today. Perhaps the DOJ inquisition had a lot to do with that, but a corporation is forced to live under the regime it finds itself subject to.

      • by zaxus (105404)
        Quoth the parent:
        It's hard to argue about the business since of a company...

        Since refers to passage of time.
        Sense refers to sound practical judgment.

        Now you know; and knowing is half the battle! GI JOE! :-)

        Sorry for the nitpick, but this really bugged me for some reason.
      • It's hard to argue about the business since of a company that is still bringing in profits on the order of billions of dollars per year.

        They could be bringing in many more billions of dollars per year if they would split their corporation into a group of smaller corporations.

    • by gordgekko (574109)
      It's an amazing world we live in where roughly a year after Vista was released it has 90 million users -- more than all Macs in operation -- and its considered a "lame duck". Their recent quarterly results might disagree with you.

      Look, I dislike IE as well, I've been using Firefox since it was a sub-1.0 release, but let's save hyperbole for a more appropriate context.
      • "It's an amazing world we live in where roughly a year after Vista was released it has 90 million users"

        No it has not in any way, shape or form 90 million users. Microsoft has sold 90 million Windows Vista/XP/NT/2000 licenses in total. The funny thing is, any windows license sold by Microsoft since Vista was released is counted as a Windows Vista license.

        If you have a fortune 500 company and buy a million licenses to deploy XP they will count as Windows Vista license no matter how you buy them. Then we have all the home users that come to me with their new computer with Vista installed wanting me to install XP and delete Vista from their computers.

        Vista is a lame duck considering it was 6 years since XP and there is a pent up want for a new OS. Six years of anticipation and vaporware turned into only minor improvement and in many cases regression.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MSTCrow5429 (642744)
        People buy OS X because they want OS X. People buy Vista because they are too ignorant and lazy to know better. Did you see http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/06/157210 [slashdot.org]? Corporations are avoiding Vista, cognizant consumers are insisting on XP, after a year OEMs still have to offer XP instead of or as an alternative to Vista. For a Windows release, that's a stunning failure.

        Their recent quarterly results show that Vista sales are disappointing.

        • by secPM_MS (1081961)
          I was a user of OSX 10.1. I moved to Windows. OSX is elegant. It's life cycle cost is far higher than Windows. With Windows I get support for 7 to 10 years. If I buy Apple, I pay more for hardware and then have to spend another ~$150 every 3 years to update the OS and maintain security support. Apple costs a lot more. It has its rabid fanboys and girls, but I am a practical engineer. My wife and kids can use the Windows systems without problems and I can continue to use software that I have had for years. I
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The number of Vista users primarily is determined by the number of computers that come preinstalled with Vista. Windows 95's release, when people lined up and charged into the stores like it was Black Friday, is the appropriate contrast.

        Windows Vista's sales numbers to people with computers that can run it but already run XP are low, and that's what's being discussed.
      • by Kristoph (242780)
        I think what the post meant - when referring to Vista as a lame duck OS - is that uptake of Vista on machines already running Windows XP is relatively modest. Visa has simply not generated a great deal of enthusiasm and, in the case large enterprises, raised enough concern, that most people would rather no upgrade.

        However, this has limited impact on Microsoft's bottom line because most consumer hardware vendors deploy one kind of MS OS or another and Microsoft gets paid and enterprise IT shops have subscri
    • Bill Gates is spotted rummaging thru trash cans at the back of an IBM corp building.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For a year or more now Microsoft has been getting tighter and tighter about what information about their plans and dates can get out. It has been really bad getting info even when you are on one of their TAP programs. Date for the RTM? Hell - you won't even get a date for the next Beta version most of the time. What's in? What's out? Not a chance - you'll get it when you get it. It is so bad now that they need a Minster of Truth to determine what to tell people - http://www.istartedsomething.com/20071207/di [istartedsomething.com]
  • by SpartacusJones (848951) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:12PM (#21616733)
    before Opera 9.5/FF3 are released and they have new ideas to copy?
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      There are plenty of ideas to copy. I mean, for IE7 they took tabbed browsing, mixed up the UI and called that a major release. Maybe for version 8 they might take XHTML support, although I'd rather imagine they include a spellchecker, put the menu bar at the bottom of the window and call the result IE8.
  • by Plunky (929104) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:13PM (#21616739)
    Yeah, well he didn't think there was anything secret going on - but maybe they just didn't tell him either!
  • They don't care? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bushboy (112290) <lttc@lefthandedmonkeys.org> on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:13PM (#21616755) Homepage
    ... when you have 90% browser market share, I guess thier feeling is "who cares?"

    It certainly seems that way.

    You only need to look at the mess they made of the GUI in ie7 to understand just how far off course the internet explorer team have sailed.

    It's a damn pain to develop for.
    Then again, so was ie6 - hmm, and ie5 and yeah, even ie4 ...

    The problem is, you can't ignore 90% market share - catch 22.
    • by Foofoobar (318279) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:22PM (#21616869)
      um... hate to tell you this but they haven't been 90% for a LONG time. In fact alot of studies are showing Firefox with 20-35% marketshare, Opera with 5-8%, Safari with 3-5%. Even if you take those lowest figures, the combination of all versions of IE would only have approx. 72% market share... 52% at worse.
      • Re: More like 80% (Score:4, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:31PM (#21616989)
        IE usage is closer to 80% [upsdell.com], but it is still dropping [wikipedia.org]. Give it a few more years, and it'll be down to 70%.
        • by Foofoobar (318279)
          Depends on what study you read; in Germany, Firefox usage is as high as 35%. The study you read was most likely limited to a small subset of American families. In the European Union, the average Firefoc usage is 30%. Amongst developers, the average usage is 80%.

          It all depends on who does the study and where the study was done. Which is why I quote a broad range that that a single source because no single source will ever be correct.

      • by Datasage (214357)
        Depends on your market. For the site I manage, IE usage is about 85%. FF is at about 10%, Safari 2% and Opera is to small to even count.

        But then most of our customers are not very fluent with technology.
        • by Foofoobar (318279)
          Totally know what you mean. I ran a technology savvy site and Firefox was nearly 80% of the sites web stats; Boing Boing (not a tech site necessarily) has also reported similar stats as have others amongst people who use the internet on a daily basis. Sites who appeal to regular web users will see far higher Firefox usage generally.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:15PM (#21616787)
    "To which Bill replied: 'I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE"

    As Bill begins to leave the company, the heralded Microsoft development teams start to act like your normal "joe IT" shop... First Vista... now IE...

    Your powers are weak, old man... :)
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Derek Loev (1050412) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:16PM (#21616791)

    'I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE.'

    He, like, totally sounds like a Silicon Valley girl.
    • by Ty (15982)
      I'll like, have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch], like, what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about, like, what we're doing with IE.

      That would be more true to form...

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      "Like, I'll totally have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on, I mean, we're not, there's totally not, like, some deep secret about what we're doing with IE or something."
      -- like, what Bill Gates actually said
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:18PM (#21616823)
    At my company we've had to just drop IE for now, and push out Firefox on all clients.
    This is OK for our internal users, but impossible for any external site because of the installed base of legacy CRAP.
    Microsoft need to fix:
    - CSS support
    - DOM support in their javascript implementation
    - XHTML support
    - SVG rendering
    Only then will we ever look at IE again.
    We also need to be clear on the patent situation surrounding technologies such as Silverlight on platforms other than Windows, before we invest any time and effort in such technologies. We don't want to end up supporting a technology that Microsoft plan on attacking on non-windows platforms.
    Microsoft are making a fool of themselves with IE, and severely damaging their reputation with developers. I hope they will offer an upgrade of internet explorer for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista when they have finally sorted out their shoddy rendering library. Internet Explorer 7 was a poor attempt at improving what remains the worst web browser that is still considered current (at least by some).
  • The next IE version will be like Word for the Web. Not just a browser but an editor to completely interact with content. Ok, I made it up. But the web was never intended to be for "browsing" only.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:25PM (#21616911) Homepage Journal
    In many ways, IE7 disappointed people. Many users don't like the changed interface. It has compatibility problems with IE6-only sites & apps. (Why this surprised anyone, I don't know.) And web developers wanted it to go much further beyond IE6's capabilities than it ultimately did. So I can buy the idea that they don't want to get people's expectations up too far.

    But there are many possible degrees of transparency. You don't have to take the Mozilla approach where every little change is visible to the public. Over the past year or two, Opera has managed to do a good job of keeping people aware that new stuff is coming down the pike without actually giving away the goods before their announcements.

    Sure, sometimes it means that reaction is a bit underwhelmed when people build up some huge expectation over a hinted-at feature, and it turns out to be something much more mundane (Opera Link, for example -- incredibly useful, but in its current form not revolutionary). But anyone following Opera developers' blogs can tell that yes, they're working on the next version, and could pick up some vague clues as to some of the planned features and capabilities.

    With IE8, no one without an NDA knew whether Microsoft had spent a year on design, a year on coding, or just took a year off. The IE8 blog asked us not to take silence for inaction, but what else should we have assumed?
    • by coryking (104614) *
      The Visual Studio crew push out community previews that are practically alpha quality for developers to chew on. Visual Studio 2008 was a classic example of this. Those guys were spinning out betas for about a year now.

      Developer people like being feed little trinkets of free stuff. It makes us feel like we are being listened to and appreciated.
  • This is a sincere question - wondering if anyone can answer it here. How much influence does Gates have left at MS now that he has left?
  • by sootman (158191) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:38PM (#21617097) Homepage Journal
    This conversation [between Web developers and the IE team] seems to have been pretty much shut down...

    It may not have been face-to-face, but for almost a decade, it seems that the conversation between IE devs and web devs has pretty much been...
    Web devs: Fuck you!
    IE devs: Fuck you!

    Why does the IE team hate standards so much? It's not like they don't know how to make things work. IE5 for Mac came out in 2000 and was pretty awesome--it even supported transparent PNGs with nothing more than an <img> tag!

    Dear IE team: thanks for inventing AJAX. Now please go make everything else work. kthxbye.

    (Note: I know for a fact that the IE team has many talented and nice people. They (and we) are just victims of horrible decisions being made further up the chain. So this vitriol is really directed at management.)
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:33PM (#21617913)

      Why does the IE team hate standards so much?

      Microsoft is a business. Keeping IE non-compliant with standards makes them money. If they complied with standards then all the Web pages and applications would soon do the same, which means there would be nothing stopping companies with Web apps from migrating to something cheaper than Windows and Office. MS's strategy is called "tying" and is illegal for companies with monopoly influence in a market, but MS still makes more money breaking the law and paying off politicians than it does complying with the law, so we're screwed. IE will never be compliant with the specs unless MS loses their monopoly influence.

  • It may have been coincidental, but a day after the Holzschlag-Gates exchange, Hachamovitch disclosed on the team's blog that the next version would be called IE8.

    What an original name! What a surprise! Who would have guessed that after IE4 came IE5, which was replaced by IE6, and then IE7 (which followed IE6) would be replaced with IE8?!??!!

    I vote that all MS products move to a numerical numbering scheme, a-la Fedora and Suse. Why don't we call the next version of Windows "7"!

  • Does that dork not have a cellphone and can call up the folks in charge right away to get an anwer?

    Nope, and I won't go into speculatons why - just look at the Bill Gates deposition videos and you'll know. That guy has it thick or he would not be who he is by bilking...yadayadayada
  • Developer overload (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigitAl56K (805623) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:46PM (#21617205)
    Usually I find that any company wants an active dialog with its user base. It undeniably helps you make a better product.

    When that dialog does not occur usually it is because the product team are overloaded in terms of the features they have to implement in the time frame that they've been allocated. Sometimes you just don't have time to engage with external entities to the degree that you'd like, or at all. On a product as significant as IE has proven to be in influencing defacto standards, that is quite dangerous.
  • by Jay L (74152) <{mf.yaj} {ta} {hsals+yaj}> on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:51PM (#21617295) Homepage
    When questioned further, Gates claimed that "When I said we'd be more transparent, I just meant we'd use more alpha-blending. You know, like Vista."
  • They may just not want to say "we're waiting to see what the next version of safari/firefox/etc. does that IE7 doesn't do, so we can copy it in an impractical but whiz-bang way".
  • by jeff_schiller (877821) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:36PM (#21617963) Homepage
    Does anyone else find it odd that Bill Gates didn't know this? I'd like to hear (off the record) from Molly on whether she believes him. Putting my tinfoil hat aside for a minute, it just seems obvious that the silence, which has engendered so much hatred and negativity from the development community, must surely be a part of some type of strategy. And shouldn't Bill be aware of that strategy?

    Even if they haven't committed on certain features or levels of compliancy, this surely does not mean complete silence. Disappointment about delivery of features can be expected, but usually it's tempered with some amount of understanding in the face of transparency and intentions.

    So to me, the silence is a strategy. The choices are:

    - they're not planning on implementing the standards that people expect (CSS, DOM, SVG, XHTML) so they want to avoid fact-based criticism for as long as possible. The longer they wait, the more people may fall in love with Silverlight?
    - they're planning on implementing standards and they want to surprise the hell out of the developers (to have them come rushing and gushing back to the fold).

    Ok, so I'm foolishly hoping it's the latter strategy (I've heard they do have a new layout engine they're working on). But the longer they wait, the more people will expect.

    It must be fairly obvious to them by now that most developers realize just how far behind standards compliancy IE is. Seriously, they are the _ONLY_ major browser out there with: its own DOM, its own event handling, its own vector graphics (VML/Silverlight) and woefully behind CSS implementation. EVERY other browser gives a shot at supporting SVG - where are they with that? They haven't even TOUCHED the spec yet!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      No, I don't find it odd at all.

      IE is one of many, many projects that go one there and I doubt he keeps a detailed day to day list of what's going on.
      This is no different then any other company. Hell, I would be surprised if it was even interesting to him any more.

  • by drew (2081) on Friday December 07, 2007 @07:37PM (#21619351) Homepage
    Whether Microsoft realizes it or not, they've pretty much lost this round of the browser wars. I don't know what their statistics are these days but even if they were still at 90% it wouldn't matter, because they've lost almost 100% of the mind share that actually matters - the developers. And oddly enough, it has very little to do with their awful support of standards. There was a time not long ago when it made financial sense to develop only for IE. IE was 90% of the market, and an average dev team could cut enough time off of their launch schedule that it more than made up for the number of users that you might lose by not fully supporting other browsers. Their buggy and nonstandard rendering wasn't a big deal, because you could still do reasonably well as a developer coding to the bugs and ignoring the standards.

    Where Microsoft completely missed the boat was on the developer tools. First the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox and now Firebug. The IE web developer toolbar is an utter joke. The script debugger is awful. Debugging through Visual Studio is pretty nice (if you have it) but it's not nearly as convenient as Firebug's integrated debugger, or even Venkman. It's been two years since I knew a web developer that used IE as their primary development platform. Even when working on sites that only have to target IE (the site that I am writing now will only be used on IE6 - ouch) we still develop on Firefox first and then fix it in IE once it works in Firefox.

    Even if IE8 regains 95% of the market, they still won't have the same control over the web that they had with IE6 unless they drastically improve the developer experience. With IE6 one could argue that it made financial sense to ignore other browsers. As long as it's either to develop in other browsers than it is in IE, Microsoft will never achieve that kind of dominance again.

    (I also have to agree with the poster quoted on the front page the other day. As long as Microsoft shows this level of neglect for IE developers, why in the world would we consider using any of their other technologies. Even as a .NET developer, I have zero motivation to even install Silverlight, much less develop against it.)
  • by Okonomiyaki (662220) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:10AM (#21621263) Homepage
    "They seem to have lost the transparency that they had."

    It took them 10 years to finally get PNGs working properly and now they're going to be broken again?

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